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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Nov 1;176(9):930-5. Epub 2007 Aug 2.

Impact of immigration on the molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a low-incidence country.

Author information

1
Division of Infectious Disease Control, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway. ulf.dahle@fhi.no

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Programs to prevent the incidence rate of tuberculosis (TB) from increasing in many low-incidence countries are challenged by international travel and immigration from high-burden countries.

OBJECTIVES:

The current study aimed to determine the effect of such immigration on the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates in an entire nation's population during 1994-2005.

METHODS:

A total of 3,131 patients were notified with TB during the 12-year period. Of these, 2,284 (73%) had TB verified by culture, and isolates from 2,173 (96%) of these were analyzed by IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

Only 31% of the included strains were isolated from nonimmigrants, the remaining 69% were isolated from immigrants. Although the incidence increased throughout the period, the genetic diversity remained high. A total of 135 clusters were identified; the percentage of recent disease was reduced among nonimmigrants, and remained stable among the immigrants during the study period. Although 69% of the isolates originated from immigrants from high-incidence countries, the established TB control program in the receiving country was adequate for the prevention of disease transmission. On average per year, only 2 nonimmigrants and 13 immigrants developed disease as a result of infection within the country by imported M. tuberculosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Twelve years of M. tuberculosis importation as a result of immigration from high-incidence countries had little influence on the transmission of this pathogen in the receiving low-incidence country. To prevent future increase of transmission of TB, the current control strategies of low-incidence countries are adequate but must be maintained.

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PMID:
17673698
DOI:
10.1164/rccm.200702-187OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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